HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The new president of the Metro North railroad and his boss at the MTA finally had their day before state lawmakers Thursday.
They renewed their pledge to have a plan of action in place soon to bring the line back to the on-time-safe commuter line it was.
As they said to the Governor last week, they know there are problems and it’s going to take time to work them out.
“By looking at this, what do you think was the main problem with Metro North right now?”
Transportation Committee co-chairman Tony Guerrera asked the question on the mind of every Metro North commuter Thursday.
The big bosses of the railroad cited a brain-drain because with the railroad now 30-years-old and 30 years being the traditional retirement many seasoned employees have left the line.
“There’s that issue in terms of employees deservedly retiring…the loss of talent,” said Thomas Prendergast, C.E.O. Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
And he admitted to lawmakers they took their eye off the ball.
“We had some degradation, in terms of the basics, in terms of track maintenance, and track, and, you know, you need good track, you need safe track,” said Prendergast.
And the new President of Metro North declined to make a prediction on when the problem plagued railroad will be turned around.
“I will tell you that we are committed to a short term, making the right decisions that will point us in the direction that will get us back to where we were,” said Joseph Giulietti, President, Metro North Railroad.
News 8 has learned that the 100 day plan of action the railroad bosses have promised to the Governor will be delivered to him next week.
Once that happens, state lawmakers say they must have frequent updates.
“We want a follow up from this president every sixty to ninety days, how that plan is working and if it’s not working then we need to take appropriate action to go from there,” said Guerrera.
And even though the Governor has stepped back from the idea some state lawmakers say they want the state to reconsider renewing the contract with Metro North.
“The state has an option to do that in 2015, I think we should do that as matter of course…it’s always good to do that,” said Sen. Toni Boucher,(R) Transporation Committee.
But lawmakers emphasized they are willing to give the new president of the railroad a chance and are hopefully because he’s a former Metro North guy who’s from New Haven.